TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Greg Carr had been all but forgotten about at Florida State this season -- until Saturday.
The 6-6 receiver began the year in reach of the Atlantic Coast Conference career record for touchdown passes, but has been largely ignored in Florida State's offensive plans, managing only 16 catches and two touchdowns in the first half of the season.
And while he didn't get into the end zone Saturday, it was Carr's hands that made the difference.
Two fingertip grabs by Carr on long pass plays set up a pair of third quarter Florida State touchdowns as the 25th-ranked Seminoles rallied from an early 10-point deficit to defeat Virginia Tech 30-20.
"That Carr kid just went up and made a couple catches over us," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "Tall and fast helps when you are downfield like that."
The win leaves Florida State (6-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) tied with Maryland for first place in the ACC's Atlantic Division and in control of its own destiny for a shot at the league's Dec. 6 championship game.
"If we could win out, we win our division," said Florida State's Bobby Bowden, who claimed his 379th career coaching win, second to major college leader Joe Paterno of Penn State.
Carr, who had three catches for 100 yards, beat Hokies star cornerback Victor Harris for a 48-yard pass from Christian Ponder to set up the go-ahead score. Moments later his 39-yard catch along the sideline set up another touchdown that gave Florida State a 24-13 lead.
"Macho [Harris' nickname] told me after the game I got the best of him today but if he sees me again ... we're going to have to go back at it," said Carr, whose 128 career catches tied his position coach, Lawrence Dawsey, and Rhett Dawson for 10th on the Florida State career list.
"I just threw it up and he made the catch," Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder said. "He gave us some momentum."
Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher liked the matchup of lanky Carr against the 6-foot Harris, who is generally considered the ACC's top NFL prospect at his position.
"He just making them and making them," Fisher said about Carr's clutch catches. "We're going to keep throwing to him and throwing to him."
Taiwan Easterling's leaping catch just in front of the goal post on a high throw from Ponder gave Florida State its first lead, 17-13, and Marcus Sims scored from the 1 to hike the advantage to 24-13 after Carr's second grab put the ball on the Virginia Tech doorstep.
Graham Gano added three more field goals and has now made a Florida State record 13 straight, including another from 50 yards or further for the fourth straight game.
Virginia Tech (5-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor on the first play of the game and backup Sean Glennon was knocked out in the third quarter. Both players had left ankle injuries.
Losing Taylor was about the only thing that went wrong for the Hokies early as they built a 10-0 lead.
Dustin Keys' 15th field goal of the season started the scoring and Glennon pushed in from the 1 for a 10-0 lead while Virginia Tech's defense held Florida State to a minus 18 yards in the first quarter.
But the Seminoles caught up quick with 10 points in a span of just over three minutes early in the second quarter. It was the second straight week Florida State spotted an opponent 10 points.
On a third-and-1, Antone Smith broke free around his own left side and zipped 39 yards down the sideline untouched for a touchdown. Gano kicked a 50-yard field goal moments later after Derek Nicholson forced a fumble by Tech's Josh Oglesby.
Keys' 20-yard field goal with three seconds left in the half that put the Hokies ahead 13-10.
Virginia Tech dominated the first half, rolling up 205 yards and 11 first downs while limited Florida State to only 70 yards and three first games, but the second half was a different story as Florida State's defense, which collected six sacks in the game, limited the Hokies to 38 yards.
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